Neat location being close to Uptown in an industrial park. Their taproom is pretty basic and kind of dark. It always seems pretty busy. The service is usually solid and the pours are generous for the price. It kind of seems like their variety lacks if one is looking for a variety of session able beers. They often have food tucks and have outdoor seating. One issue is their quality seems to have plateaued if not slightly declined. Size 7 was my go to IPA but everyone seems to be catching up and this beer seems like it is losing its charm.
Small room with the bar, but a sizeable expansion into the brewhouse. Looks like a "patio" roped off in the parking lot. Simple industrial feel. But the beer is great. Basic 5 are always on, plus one or two seasonal/specials, and 4 or 4.50 pints of flagships is fantastic.
Big parking lot, light industrial location. First room is concrete block with a nice wooden bar. Larger party room in back. Brewhouse not visible. 5 x 4 ounce taster flights, six beers plus a blend (why on earth would you blend a beer? why not just brew one more style?). Beers were very solid, some of the best we had on this trip. Good stop, worth going out of your way to visit. Score suffers from small selection but the beers are great.
ElGaucho (286) Minnetonka, Minnesota | October 30, 2015| Updated March 2, 2016
3/2/16: Re-Rate: Not sure if I missed it or if it wasn’t open, but I retract what I said in my October review about lack of seating. There is now a good-sized back room with additional seating. So, the new spread is a significant upgrade over the original. I still think my fellow raters are overemphasizing the quality of the beer, which is outstanding, in their PLACE review. Despite the upgrades, this is still about middle of the pack as Twin Cities tap rooms go. "Selection" to me does not mean quality of the beers, but rather quantity of different offerings, or variety. 10/30/15 Re-rate: They have now shifted their tap room to the adjacent space to the left of the original tap room. Disappointingly, it’s a virtual mirror image of what they had before, which was grossly lacking in seating capacity. Steel Toe’s Size 4, 7, & 11, Sticker Fight, and Lunker are some of the best beers made in the state of Minnesota for their styles. However, they continue to under leverage the quality of their products by failing to provide adequate vehicles to get them into the hands of consumers. I can’t remember the last time I saw Steel Toe in a liquor store or on tap anywhere other than their tap room. 8/22/13: I expected my score to be better than a 70, but where Steel Toe gets dinged is in selection. There were only 5 beers on tap, which isn’t all that bad for a local taproom, but then again, only 5. The taproom is fairly small, with limited bar stool and rail seating along the perimeter. Still it’s nice, with cool lighting and a flat screen TV behind the bar. You can’t beat the prices, at $4 and $4.50 per pint for some of the best beer brewed in Minnesota. Was there on a Wednesday and was surprised that it went from full to fairly sparse by 6:30. Once they expand their selection and build their reputation, this place is going to be jammed. They are in dire need of an outdoor patio.
The out-of-the-way location looks a little intimidating for visitors to the twin cities, but it’s actually only a $10 Uber fare from downtown. The place is pretty utilitarian, cramped. I visited at dinner time on a Saturday and found the place to be very busy. Loads of people were rolling through just to pick up growlers. I sat at the bar and worked my way through a reasonably-priced flight. My bartender was pretty chill, and provided free pours of everything that wasn’t included in the flight, so points for service. Steel Toe’s beers are pretty solid across the board. At best, they’re touching world class. I especially enjoyed their hoppy stuff. Overall, definitely worth a detour. I’ll be back.
A smaller tap room with a bar on one side surrounded by a wall bar on the other side to offer maximum seating. A very industrial feel. Bartender was efficient despite being extremely busy and knew a lot about the beers. Prices are nice and you can grab a sampler as well if you are looking to try a few things. A solid tap room.
Thursday afternoon in August ... I don’t think the location of this place is ideal, and they could do a much better job with curb appeal. But all of the beers we tried here were good to great, and that outscores the ambiance. (Brewery #645)